Jalen Suggs to Magic: No. 5 Pick's Projected Contract with Orlando

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2021

Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs brings the ball up the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Saint Mary's in Spokane, Wash., Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Young Kwak/Associated Press

Gonzaga star Jalen Suggs is headed to the Orlando Magic after going No. 5 overall in the 2021 NBA draft.

The rookie wage scale combined with the salary cap largely lock in what players will earn when they first arrive in the league. 

Here are Suggs' projected salaries for his first five years, per RealGM:

  • 2021-22: $5,494,200
  • 2022-23: $5,768,700
  • 2023-24: $6,043,500
  • 2024-25: 26.7 percent increase over 2023-24 salary
  • 2025-26: 32.6 percent increase over 2024-25 salary

There is some wiggle room since a player can sign for between 80 and 120 percent of the wage scale. For example, Anthony Edwards was allotted a little more than $8.1 million after the Minnesota Timberwolves took him with the No. 1 overall pick. He ultimately got $9.8 million for his first year, the maximum allowed.

Suggs told CNBC Make It's Nicolas Vega in June he already has plans for his first big paycheck.

"I really want to get a nice car, not even for myself, for my mom," he said. "She's got an Escalade that she's dreamed of and talked about almost every day. I really want to get that for her. I never could've gotten here all by myself."

When the 2020-21 college basketball season got underway, many pegged Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham as the most likely player to go No. 1 overall in 2021. He was the top overall player in 247Sports' composite rankings, and the hype predated his arrival in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Over the course of his one year at Gonzaga, Suggs at least closed the gap on Cunningham. The 6'4" guard averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He also shot 50.3 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from beyond the arc.

The NCAA tournament proved to be a great showcase for Suggs. He dropped 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the Elite Eight against USC before scoring 16 points and hitting the game-winner against UCLA.

The jump to the NBA can be more difficult for guards compared to other positions because they have the ball in their hands more often.

Still, Suggs should make an immediate impact in Orlando.